Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for the body to function. It plays several roles such as supporting muscle and nerve function, strengthening the immune system, keeping blood pressure steady, and converting food into energy. Magnesium can be found in a variety of foods or as an over-the-counter dietary supplement.
A study found that up to 75% of Americans are not meeting the recommended intake for this mineral and are therefore deficient. This can be caused by not eating enough foods high in magnesium. Another reason for this can be due to different medical conditions like diabetes or digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease and frequent diarrhea. One of the most common signs of a magnesium deficiency is fatigue. Muscle spasms, twitches, and cramps are also signs you may not be getting enough magnesium. Let’s explore some benefits of magnesium and how you can up your intake.
PMS and Period Pain
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a mix of physical and emotional symptoms women commonly experience between ovulation and a period, ranging from mild to severe. It turns out that magnesium may help ease these symptoms by boosting mood, reducing bloating, and alleviating breast tenderness and pain. Magnesium also works to calm muscles which can be beneficial for those dealing with painful menstrual cramps.
Because magnesium is tied to nerve function, it can play a role in stress and anxiety management. Magnesium works to calm the nervous system by reducing the activity of the stress response in the brain and other parts of the body. Finding ways to reduce stress can make a big difference in our overall health.
Sleep is a huge contributor to how we feel each day. It is so important to get quality sleep every night. Magnesium has recently become popular as a sleeping aid. This is because it relaxes the mind, muscles, and helps regulate sleep quality.
Headaches and Migraines
Headaches and migraines can get in the way of having a productive day. Magnesium can help treat and or prevent this. One study found that magnesium was more effective in treating migraines compared with other medications. This may be something worth trying if you experience chronic migraines and headaches.
Most women with PCOS struggle with high blood pressure and insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate our blood sugar. Those with insulin resistance are more likely to experience fatigue and difficulties balancing blood sugar. Magnesium has shown the potential to reduce blood pressure and insulin resistance.
Magnesium is measured in milligrams (mg). Here are the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) or the daily amounts recommended per day.
- Women (ages 19-30): 310 mg
- Women (ages 10-30): 350 mg if pregnant, 310 mg if breastfeeding
- Women (ages 31-50): 320 mg
- Women (ages 31-50): 360 if pregnant, 320 if breastfeeding
Remember, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before adding any new supplement to your regimen. They will determine what is best and safest for you!
So how can you increase your magnesium intake? In addition to supplements, there are tasty foods out there that are magnesium-rich.
For example, 1oz of chia seeds has 111 mg of magnesium. Chia seeds can be thrown into your favorite smoothie or made into chia seed pudding and topped with fruit and nut butter.
Nuts are also a great source of magnesium. Try making a nut mix with dried fruit, almonds, and cashews. Both of these nuts contain over 70 mg of magnesium per ounce. You can also add in some yummy dark chocolate chips for some extra magnesium. One ounce of dark chocolate contains 64 mg of magnesium! This is a great snack to munch on when on the go which will keep you feeling energized.
Dark leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, and kale are rich sources of magnesium too. Here’s a tip! Top it on avocado toast or mix it into a breakfast omelet. You can even freeze them and blend them into a dip, soup, or make a pesto sauce.
Written by past FH Intern Jennifer Rivera